At the University of Wolverhampton, we are passionate about making a positive impact on our students, our local community and beyond. Through collaboration and multi-disciplinary projects, our research contributes to public debate, creates solutions to local, national and global challenges, and preserves and promotes cultural works of international significance. By advancing knowledge, and bringing together excellence and innovation, we challenge perceptions and seek to change the world for the better. The below case studies showcase the range of research activity at the University and its impact outside of academia.
A team of professors in Clinical Practice and Medicine have also been appointed by the University of Wolverhampton and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust to drive forward medical research in the region. The seven Professors have expertise in a range of areas including cardiology, neonatology and haematology and will work across both the University and the Trust on joint research projects aimed at improving patient care and treatments.
For more information on impact at Wolverhampton, please contact the Impact team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Dr Sarah Browne
Empowering Marginalised Communities through Music
Dr Browne’s research at the University of Wolverhampton (UoW) has centred on identity in music and musical theatre. The impact of this has been to empower, and bring to the fore the stories of marginalised communities.
The Hear Her Song project has situated female composers and practitioners as an integral part of both the creative and performance process, thus allowing for a greater emphasis on female agency through phonocentrism - the prioritisation of the acoustic or phonic elements of language over the written or graphic. The work also placed girls from some of the most deprived communities at the heart of the process, allowing them the means by which they can consider their lived experience as contributing to notions of empowerment.
A further video discussing the project is available here.
The Hear Her Song album is now available on Spotify and other sites.
Professor Matthew Wyon
Keeping Dancers Dancing: Reducing Injury Incidence and Improving Performance Capabilities
Professor Wyon’s research has focused on aspects of health in general and bone mineral density (BMD) in particular relating to vocational and professional dancers. It has the objective of reducing injury incidence and improving the dancers’ wellbeing. Overall, the impact of this work has resulted in the following four main changes:
- The training regimes of dancers have changed in order to limit injury and reduce subsequent dropout rates. In one instance, this led to a 27% reduction in dropout;
- Wyon and his Team have developed a neuromuscular warm up (Dance 11+) which, along with the introduction of strength and conditioning (S&C) training within the dance curriculum, has led to a 40% decrease in injuries at one ballet school alone;
- Wyon’s research discovery that 87% of students had insufficient/deficient serum 25(OH)D) has led to year-long monitoring of vitamin D levels of vocational and professional dancers, with accompanying vitamin D supplementation; and
- Wyon and his Team have worked with dance schools and companies to show how imperfections in dance floors can lead to injuries and why this is a risk to dancers; further impacts were tested in court with Wyon as an expert witness.
Together, the results of Wyon’s research and the impact achieved have benefitted dancers’ health and wellbeing. This work has informed national guidelines of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science, UK, and the National Centre for Performing Arts, Netherlands, as well as international guidelines of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS).
Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar
Engaging with British Sikhs
Dr Opinderjit Takhar’s ground-breaking research findings from the field of Sikh and Panjabi Studies have resulted in three distinct impacts. These have been of benefit to the Sikh community and British society more generally and are:
- Enhanced cultural understanding of Sikh life and experience among the general public and in public policy;
- Improved social inclusion of Sikhs as a marginalised group in the diaspora: positively shaping values and informing public attitudes towards the Sikh community; and
- Public and political debate about and in the Sikh community, for example on the census of England and Wales 2021 and on Gurdwara governance reform, has been shaped and informed by research, challenging established norms, modes of thought and practices.
Together, these have led to a greater appreciation of the societal contributions of the UK’s 430,000-strong Sikh Community and their achievements.
Professor Peter Walton
Policy Debate and Engagement: Insolvency Litigation and Pre-Packaged Administration
Research carried out by Professor Walton was used in Parliament and by professional and trade bodies to inform a public debate and caused the Government to delay the implementation of its policy on how insolvency litigation should be funded. The Jackson Reforms to Civil Justice in the UK were adopted wholesale by the UK Government. They cut across every area of litigation. Walton’s research argued for an insolvency exception to the Jackson Reforms and received widespread support in Parliament and from business. The research also formed the basis of a very public debate between Walton and Lord Justice Jackson.
Research by the Law Research Centre highlighted significant practical issues in relation to pre-packaged administration (pre-packs)*. Solutions to the problems associated with pre-packs were suggested by the Government-appointed independent Graham Review of pre-packs, which chose the Law Research Centre to conduct research to provide the necessary data regarding, and to highlight and advise on, specific issues relating to pre-packs. The research informed the recommendations made by the Graham Review in June 2014 and led to significant Government policy decisions and changes to professional practice. The research has been used to inform a similar debate in Australia, and been recognised judicially.
*Pre-pack sales are when arrangements are made to sell the viable parts of a failing business before it is announced that it has become insolvent, to make sure the best price is obtained (UK Government Definition)
Professor Andrew Lane
Interventions to help people perform better and feel better
The Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC) knows that our thoughts and emotions influence what we do as individuals - we want to feel good when it really matters. Professor Lane's research, and that of colleagues researching into Performance Enhancement, focuses on developing, creating and testing interventions designed to aid people in feeling and performing better - informing self-help materials (including videos in a project funded by the British Psychological Society to help endurance athletes manage fatigue), academic and commercial organisations, national governing bodies, and professional bodies.
Performance Enhancement research within SPARC includes endurance sports, combat sports, team sports and dance, and we have worked closely with our end-users to guide our multi-disciplinary research that has helped provide relevant information to guide their training and performance practices. Through this, we led a large-scale project with the BBC Lab UK and former Olympian Michael Johnson that investigated which sport psychology techniques helped people perform better.
Professor Chris Fullwood
Self-presentation, communication and identity in the digital age
Through the work of one the UK’s largest Cyberpsychology research group, researchers at the University of Wolverhampton have made significant contributions to understanding how being online alters the ways in which we present ourselves to others. Their research has also increased knowledge around the associated risks and benefits of being online for people with intellectual disabilities, demonstrating that digital inclusion can enhance self-determination. A wide variety of public, voluntary and private sector organisations have benefited from our innovative research. These include NATO’s Innovation Hub, West Midlands and Black Country advocacy groups for people with intellectual disabilities (e.g. Dudley Voices for Choice) and Studio Lambert, the producers of the reality show The Circle. These organisations created or changed their policies (e.g. Dudley Voices for Choice), developed new media products (Studio Lambert) and refined their practice after close collaboration with our research group.
Professor Tracy Warr
Brain Tumour Research
Professor Tracy Warr leads a research programme at the University of Wolverhampton aimed at improving outcome for paediatric and adult glioma patients. The Brain Tumour Research Team within the Research Institute in Healthcare Sciences plays an important regional and national role in the under resourced brain tumour research sector, encouraging bright brains to the join the field, utilising funds from local and national charities to help advance the vital work and supporting donors with government lobbying.
Professor Prashant Pillai
Digital innovations in cybersecurity to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Protecting critical national infrastructure through innovations in cybersecurity
Our research developed innovative and cost-effective cyber solutions for online safety and has gone on to have substantial impacts on small medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and overseas. It provided better protection in people’s homes and businesses against modern advanced online threats. In Nigeria, our free training programme for businesses has enabled over 1,500 SME employees to become more resilient to cyberattacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the UK, our technology-sharing project SOLVD has brought new software to cybersecurity companies through a partnership programme with Telford & Wrekin Council. Furthermore, our new spin-out company Onlyn Shield Ltd is bringing cost-effective pioneering security solutions to the UK market.
The cyber research team at the University of Wolverhampton worked on underpinning technologies to support cyber resilience for complex systems in Critical National Infrastructure (CNI). This has laid the foundation for the business case to establish a new £9,000,000 centre; the Midlands Centre for Cybersecurity in Hereford. The centre stimulated a base of Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) engaged in cybersecurity solutions. Underpinning research has also been utilised to train practitioners from 25 local SMEs through a unique Business Assistance Programme in the UK. Cydon Ltd, a new viable university spin-off company, was created from the research IP and the company fills a need for effective and secure data sharing across business units. Additionally, the research findings have been utilised in outreach activities to engage over 2,000 professionals through a series of over 30 specialist workshops.
Dr David Heesom and Dr Paul Hampton
Environmental Technologies and Resource Efficiency Support Service (EnTRESS): Delivering optimal solutions to enhance organisational capability
Construction Futures is an underpinning research theme within the School of Architecture and Built Environment. The research in this area cuts across all of the School disciplines including Architecture, Built Environment, Civil Engineering and Geography. Our work shapes and informs decisions, policy and practice, and enhances societal impact globally.
EnTRESS supports Black Country and Stoke & Staffordshire small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the adoption of environmental technologies and resource efficiency processes. All activities are fully funded and the project is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund to promote sustainable economic growth.
Enhancing the capability of the Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) sector has been a cornerstone of applied research in the School of Architecture and the Built Environment (SoABE) since 2000. Research has continued to demonstrate wide-reaching impact through bespoke activities and holistic interventions covering the three core pillars of: People, Process and Technology.
Across the University, scholars within our Research Centres and inter-disciplinary Research Institutes work closely with commercial and civil society partners in a wide range of research and translational projects. More information on our impact from research can be found in our research newsletters:
- Research Matters - showcasing our research successes and news from the sector.
- The Wolverhampton Briefing - our new quarterly update on our vital research activity.
We are also partnered with the following networks, highlighting how our research can impact on policy:
- The Universities Policy Engagement Network, UPEN, is a community of UK universities committed to increasing the impact of research on policy.
- The UK Universities Climate Network (UUCN) is a community of institutions aligned to their commitment to sustainability and the climate change agenda.
- The Midlands Engine pan-regional partnership, working to accelerate growth and prosperity for every part of the Midlands.
- The West Midlands Regional Economic Development Institute (WMREDI), whose collaborative partnerships with regional stakeholders involved in planning and delivering growth policies for the region.
- The Midlands Impact Group, comprising impact teams from regional Universities.